Overview participating exhibitions

Awarded Commitment
2012

Awarded Commitment

Chien-Chi Chang

ESCAPE FROM NORTH KOREA

The exodus of North Korean defectors into China began in late 1990s after a severe famine that killed at least one million of its 23 million people. Once they cross the border to China, they’ll be in hiding and waiting to embark on an extremely secretive, dangerous escape route, known as Asia’s Underground Railroad from northern China all the way to Laos, crossing Mekong River, to Thailand and finally to South Korea. The unpredictable journey can take weeks, months or even years. If they are caught while escaping in China and Laos, they will be repatriated to Communist North Korea, facing severe labor camps or capital punishment. Magnum photographer Chien-Chi Chang traveled with the defectors to document the darkest journey in 2007 and 2008.

  • ESCAPE FROM NORTH KOREA

    The exodus of North Korean defectors into China began in late 1990s after a severe famine that killed at least one million of its 23 million people. Once they cross the border to China, they’ll be in hiding and waiting to embark on an extremely secretive, dangerous escape route, known as Asia’s Underground Railroad from northern China all the way to Laos, crossing Mekong River, to Thailand and finally to South Korea. The unpredictable journey can take weeks, months or even years. If they are caught while escaping in China and Laos, they will be repatriated to Communist North Korea, facing severe labor camps or capital punishment. Magnum photographer Chien-Chi Chang traveled with the defectors to document the darkest journey in 2007 and 2008.

  • ESCAPE FROM NORTH KOREA

    Chang’s “Escape from North Korea” similarly addresses migration but concentrates on the movement of people from North to South Korea via China, Laos, and Thailand. This journey can take anywhere from a few days to years and is fraught with danger and the specter of repatriation.

Biography

Chien-Chi Chang, born in Taiwan, studied English literature at the university of Taipei, and has a Masters in Education from Indiana University. Alienation and connection are the subjects of much of Chien-Chi Chang's work. These themes surface particularly in The Chain, a collection of portraits made in a Taiwanese mental institution.

He was awarded the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund for Humanistic Photography in 1999. In 2011, he won the AnthropoGraphia Award for Human Rights in the category multimedia.

Website Chien-Chi Chang